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Georgia's Breakaway Abkhazia Plans Military Maneuvers


The Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi
SUKHUMI -- Military officials in Georgia's breakaway Republic of Abkhazia have announced plans to start command-staff exercises on August 11, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The Abkhaz Defense Ministry said the republican General Staff and all branches of the armed forces would take part in the maneuvers.

Officials said the major goal was to train the armed forces "to withstand aggression by a possible enemy."

The move comes just days after the first anniversary of the launch of hostilities between Georgia and Russia that included Russian troops eventually setting up well beyond the territory disputed between Tbilisi and the South Ossetian leadership.

Georgia still considers both republics its territory.

Only Russia and Nicaragua have recognized South Ossetian and Abkhaz claims of independence.

Meanwhile, the third round of fortnightly talks on security issues in Abkhazia is also to take place on August 11 at the UN Human Rights Office in Abkhazia's southernmost Gali district. The talks bring together government officials from Georgia, Abkhazia, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations.

Georgian Foreign Ministry official Sergei Kapanadze told journalists on August 10 that at the talks Georgia will demand free passage for Georgian residents of Gali across the administrative border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia.